I recently finished Elle Armstrong’s novel Crash Dance (pictured) and oh my God… I absolutely loved it!! Elle is a fabulous writer who only became a writer due to what she calls ‘a silly little accident’, but which changed her life, forced her to stop working and made her turn to writing to save her ‘already dubious sanity’. (I should stress that those are NOT my words, but hers, on her website.) I’m very glad she did start writing, for if she hadn’t, the world would be deprived of Crash Dance, Café A’moor and all her other amazing books!
Now you can see why I was so excited to interview Elle for Sapphic Fiction February, right? Let’s dive straight in!
Morning Elle! Introduce yourself! Tell us a little bit about you - who are you, and what do you do?
I worked mostly in the finance area before I had to stop working due to a silly little accident that irrevocably changed my life. I finally accepted I could no longer work after struggling for a couple of years after it, so became a stay at home mum to my son who is now 16 and over 6ft. I'm now registered as disabled. I fell into writing rather than wanting to be a writer/author but I'm so glad I did.
What made you want to sit down and write your first book?
I had a story buzzing round in my head and decided to put it onto my laptop so it didn't bug me just as I was trying to fall asleep. A few chapters in another story came knocking and I put the first book aside to write that one instead. I now have loads of book ideas, and a head full of characters that have refused to move out and are claiming squatters rights. They tell me there's plenty of space up there for them, up amongst the sawdust.
How do you develop your plots and characters?
I start off with either the characters or a simple idea that turns into a plot. I always plan who my characters are i.e. names, rough age, looks, jobs but that's not cast in stone. I have the start, a few things for the middle and what the end will be. The rest of it is a mystery to me till I start writing it. It's very rare that I'll have a full plot before starting to write.
Which of your characters do you relate to the most, and why?
There's a bit of me in a lot of my characters but the one I relate to most is in book 3 of my Astington series. I've written around a third of that book and it's actually one of the rare ones where I know the main plot throughout. The character Nat, can be found as a side character in book 1 - Cafe A'Moor.
Has your own writing ever made you cry?
No and nor has any other writing. I don't cry at books or at films.
Does anyone you know in real life read your books?
Yes, my mum, and my friends.
Imagine your book, or one of your books, was made into a film. Who would play the lead roles?
Gosh, tough question as I don't watch much TV or films. I'll go with Crash Dance and say Jennifer Garner for Gabrielle and Natalie Portman for Bailey.
When you’re not writing, what do you do to relax?
Read, read and read.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given with regards to being an author?
If it doesn't move the story forwards, lose it.
How about in general life?
What's meant to be won't pass you by.
What is a motto you live by?
Weebles wobble but don't fall down.
How can people connect with you?
Finally a light-hearted one. If you were a sandwich, what sandwich would you be?
I'd be a cheese and tuna one with mayo. Basically that's one that's not to everyone's taste but very saucy and often overlooked.
If you enjoyed this interview, then make sure you’re following my social media accounts (@kblakemanwriter on Twitter and @katherineblakemanwriter on Instagram) to get all the latest updates! And if you want to support my own Sapphic Fiction journey while you’re here, my new novel The Summer We’ve Had is available now!